Some people live in a world that the rest of us can't even begin to recognize.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Calculation Sheet!

Being naive about all things prison, I thought that a two year sentence meant two years in prison.

As a law-abiding citizen, I would read articles where a drug dealer, child abuser, or drunk driver would be sentenced to, say, 8 years in prison, and be glad that person would be held out of society for that long (believing that 8 years meant 8 years!).

As a falsely convicted inmate, I was shocked--but pleased (for myself)--that a two year sentence doesn't mean anything near two years. My fellow inmates had told me I would receive a "Calculation Sheet" which would give me my exact out date. Apparently, even though the judge's booming voice indicated that I was sentenced to "spend two years in the State's Department of Corrections" the department of corrections is way too overcrowded to actually keep people locked up for very long.

From what I understand, murderers have to do 85% of their sentence. Then why not just sentence them to that much? Instead of giving them 50 years, give them 42.5 years, and make them stay in prison 42.5 years. Or better yet, if they are given a 50 year sentence, make them stay in prison 50 years! Gee, if I wasn't where I am now, and hoping to get out as soon as possible, I'd look into these questionable "truth in sentencing" laws.

So, I received my calculation sheet today. By state law, my sentence was immediately reduced by 50% (as are all sentences except murderers'). Then, I was given my "time off for good behavior" which reduced my sentence by another 6 months. Funny how everyone gets their 6 months "time off for good behavior" within a few weeks of entering prison! How does the penal system know their behavior will be good their entire stay? When my calculation sheet showed a few more weeks off for time between conviction and sentencing added on, my total time in prison would be about five and a half months.

My emotions are torn! I am so glad my two years has magically turned into 5 1/2 months, but cannot believe that actual criminals spend nowhere near their actual sentence length given by the judge. There is something really, really wrong about this. But I think I'll wait to complain for about, oh, 5 1/2 months.

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